On Feb. 10, many centuries ago, St. Scholastica, the twin sister of St. Benedict, passed to eternal life, preceding her brother by about forty days, who then died on March 21. Christ spent forty days in the desert before beginning His public ministry. We also observe 40 days in the Lenten season preparing for Easter. To the great patriarch of western monasticism, God gave this ultimate preparation period of 40 days, after his sister's death, as if it were a final Lent. According to St. Gregory the Great, Benedict knew exactly when he would die and had the tomb opened six days before.
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